The Whimsy Bomb! College Humor splices Studio Ghibli movies with other popular anime series

Throughout his long career as an animator and manga artist, Hayao Miyazaki has created a particular style and theme throughout his works that have inspired an untold number of younger artists. However, what if Miyazaki himself had been influenced by some of the other popular series to come out of Japan, like Dragon Ball Z or Sailor Moon?

Brian Murphy and Patrick Cassels from College Humor have dreamt up exactly such scenarios by combining anime hits like Pokémon with Miyazaki classics such as Spirited Away in an animated short titled: If Miyazaki Films Were Like Other Anime. And it’s truly glorious.

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We hope you’re not thirsty — Tokyo shuts down its vending machines for U.S. president’s visit

This evening, U.S. President Barack Obama arrives in Japan. While here, he’ll be meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, with the two scheduled to discuss strengthening diplomatic ties between the U.S. and Japan, and also the possibility of Japan participating in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP.

Since we spend at least half of our time thinking with our stomachs, we can’t help but realize that Japan’s agreeing to the proposed trade agreement would likely mean lower import taxes on American beef. But while the possibility of a future with more meat has us excited, it comes with a gastronomic price, as the security measures surrounding the president’s visit mean that a number of beverage and ice cream vending machines in Tokyo have been temporarily shut down ahead of his arrival.

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Tokyo custom hamburger steak restaurant is all about choices, and all of them are delicious

While Japan is brimming with hamburger joints, you can also find plenty of restaurants that specialize in the meatloaf-like hamburger steak. Served on a griddle to ensure it stays sizzling hot, the lack of a bun means that with a hamburger steak the meat can take center stage.

The drawback though is that not having two slices of bread to hold everything together usually means fewer options as to what ingredients you’d like in your hamburger steak, compared to a hamburger sandwich. Unless, that is, if you stop by the restaurant Sakana no Nakasei in Tokyo, where you can customize nearly every aspect of your hamburger steak, right down to what kind of meat to use and how coarsely it’s ground.

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Japanese people surprised to find that “popular Japanese store” Meiso doesn’t exist in Japan

This stylish chain of stores has seen branches popping up all over China and boasts “Japanese brands” and “100% Japanese quality” all for the reasonable price of 10 yuan (US$1.60). It’s called “Meiso” in its native language of Japanese where it is said to have found major success… which is interesting because there doesn’t seem to be a single Meiso outlet in the whole country of Japan.

Well, actually that’s not completely true. Much like how the spirit of Santa Claus lives in every child’s heart, the spirit of Meiso can be found in three of Japan’s largest retailers – Uniqlo, Mujirushi Ryohin, and Daiso – in it’s eerily similar design to all three. And that’s just the tip of the weirdness iceberg.

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If real animals were Pokémon, the world would be a much weirder place

The creators of Pokémon were nothing if not brilliant when they decided to make the collectible creatures cute and cuddly fantastical cryptid-like animals influenced by – yet sufficiently removed from – the designs of real-world critters. This allows the player/collector to suspend their disbelief enough that they don’t feel too bad about enslaving a living, breathing thing to battle other living, breathing things for their amusement.

But when you make it the other way around – real-world animals made to look like pokémon – things get a little more disturbing. Are you or your kids willing to capture, for example, an actual fox with nine tails and make it battle a giant frog with a flower on its back for bragging rights? That scenario isn’t too far removed from real-life cockfighting and dog fights.

This wasn’t a question we had to ask ourselves in the early days of Pokémon. But then, of course, the Internet happened, and the Internet is uniquely capable of making us feel bad about almost anything. So, for your amusement/guilt, we present to you real-world animals if they were pokémon:

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Two months is a lifetime: Cancer-stricken 22-year-old gets married in the hospital

As the saying goes, a friend in need is a friend indeed. It is often in adversity that we realize who our true friends are, discover true love and learn to treasure the important people in our lives.

A young Taiwanese couple recently tied the knot, but their wedding ceremony wasn’t held at a church or some romantic venue, it was held at a hospital instead because the bride is a cancer patient with less than two months to live. True love exists, folks!

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Enjoy the ambiance of Okinawa’s aptly named Cave Cafe (plus “chest hair of the ancients”!)

The folks at popular Japanese travel site Another Tokyo have given us the itch to go traveling again. We’ve gotten used to drooling over their cool photos of off the beaten track places around Tokyo, but this time they’ve branched out a bit — all the way to tropical, sunny Okinawa!

Although we have to give the Tokyo area credit for its share of unconventional cafes, you’ll be blown away by the photos from this “Cave Cafe” in Okinawa, which is located inside – you guessed it – an actual cave! If you’re traveling to Okinawa soon and looking to do something a bit extraordinary, be sure to add this spot to your sightseeing list. After all, how many people can claim to have sipped coffee in a cave?

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REVIEW: Sony’s new tablet is thinner and lighter than the iPad Air, and Android fans will love it

After receiving rave reviews for last year’s model, the Xperia Tablet Z, Sony has refreshed its flagship with a sleek waterproof design that’s just a hair thinner than the last.

It’s even just slightly thinner and lighter than the iPad Air.

Packed with a high-resolution screen and great battery life, the Z2 Tablet is among the best Android tablets you can buy today, although it doesn’t feel quite as premium as the iPad.

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Patlabor’s giant robot gets taken out to the ballgame, keeps the peace in Chiba 【Video】

In planning any large-scale sporting event, organizers have to take security needs into consideration. Any time you combine thousands of people in a confined space with heightened emotions and flowing alcohol, there’s at least the chance that some individuals will be tempted to cross the line of polite behavior or even public safety, so it’s always a good idea to have a few security guards or uniformed police officers on hand.

Or, as shown in this awesome time-lapse video filmed outside a stadium in Chiba Prefecture, the giant robot from Patlabor.

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Those freaky Hello Kitty contact lenses are back, and this time she brought friends!

As cute as we thought they were, when we first heard about Hello Kitty contact lenses last summer, we weren’t entirely sure they’d catch on. Was there really a market for this kind of thing, particularly at the contacts’ price point of 5,800 yen (US$57) per set?

You should never underestimate Japan’s queen of licensed merchandise though, as Kitty-chan’s making a return trip to people’s irises, and this time, she’s even bringing a couple of her Sanrio pals with her. And it’s not just fashion that marches along, but technology and production techniques, too, as the new contacts cost less than half what the old ones did.

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NBA team logos – Now with added Pokémon!

Here at RocketNews24 we can’t resist a good Pokémon mashup, whether it’s official merchandise or fan-made goodies. Micah Coles is a fan who combined his love of Pokémon with a keen eye for design, reimagining NBA team logos with a new corresponding Pokémon! He’s made new Poké-mascot logos for each and every NBA team, plus a few extras, too!

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Stunning 22-year-old HD footage brings Tokyo of the ‘90s back to life

When looking at old photographs and video, there’s a strange phenomenon that sometimes occurs. Between the visual grain and the way colors bleed together, sometimes those images don’t seem like they’re just from another time, but from another world, one somehow less defined and concrete then the one in which we now live.

Of course, that’s all just outdated technology playing tricks on you. While camera and monitors have certainly gotten better over the years, the resolution of real life hasn’t gone through any upgrades, and the physical world has always been as sharp and vibrant as what we see today. As proof, take a look of these amazing HD videos of Tokyo taken over two decades ago.

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Okinawa restaurant’s amazing shaved ice belongs in a (sufficiently air-conditioned) museum

Of all the art-you-can-eat creations that seem to be trending in Japan these days, most use easily manipulated and relatively sturdy substances such as rice and grated daikon radish, plus obvious stuff like cake and marzipan. So if these trendy edible canvases rank an eight or a nine on a 1-to-10 food art skill rating, we’d have to wager that ice-based food art is cranking it up to 11. And with ice melting in a matter of minutes, you’d think somebody would have to be crazy to try and make an edible sculpture out of it.

We can picture it now: The poor, young shaved ice art prodigy ridiculed and shunned by the food art community, forced to take his craft to far-off Okinawa and a decrepit-looking shop on an unassuming corner to carry out his trade in relative anonymity.

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Kim Jong-un’s haircut takes over the world

Recently, rumors abound that Kim Jong-un has been forcing all male university students to get his haircut. Whether that’s true or not (and it’s probably the latter!), the prospect of thousands of men adopting the tubby leader’s ‘do has prompted quite a lot of discussion about his haircut.

Fluffy on top and buzzed in the back, it’s like a reverse mullet—and every bit as cool! They say that fashion is cyclical, but this trend may have done a figure 8…

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She goes wobble, but she don’t fall down: Chinese leafleter’s kooky way of getting attention

As consumers, we are surrounded by adverts and marketing, and as we get better at tuning them out, companies come up with ever more ingenious methods of making us pay attention to what they have to say.

Plenty of marketing involves attractive young women, but one Chinese advertiser has taken the idea to a new level – literally – by hiring a girl to bob around 3 meters above the ground on a giant bendy pole. Instead of standing on the street trying to convince people to take her flyers, she floats above the crowd and chucks leaflets at people from above. Why didn’t we think of that already?

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Tear-jerker: Brain tumor patient’s “final wish” is to find her husband a new girlfriend

Recent reports of popular celebrities embroiled in illicit love affairs may have caused many Chinese netizens to lose hope in love, but a devoted couple on “iDream of China”, a television program that gives common people a chance to fulfil their wildest dreams, touched the nation with their heart-wrenching story and rekindled the people’s hope in true love.

Get your tissues ready because the story of Ying Feng, a 23-year-old diagnosed with a fourth-degree brain tumor, and her loving husband is likely to bring a tear to your eye.

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Local thugs forced to fight pro Muay Thai fighters as punishment during Thai New Year festival

Songkran, or the Thai New Year, is held annually between April 13-15. It is also known as the water-throwing festival because the tradition of washing Buddhist statues for good fortune has evolved into a tradition of throwing water on other people as well. In other words, it’s like a giant free-for-all water fight throughout the country!

Naturally, by human nature not all of the citizens are well-behaved, and the festival always leads to some fights and drunken brawls between irresponsible revelers. This year, however, it looks like the ingenious idea of one politician in Buriram City may stop local gang members from stirring up more trouble at future festivals…and it might just shock you. 

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Kinoko Girly: the weirdest time-waster you’ll play all day

If you’re struggling with the fact that it’s still only Tuesday and the weekend is but a dot on the horizon, Kinoko Girly (‘Mushroom Girly’), a free mobile game currently generating a lot of buzz here in Japan, might be just the thing to keep you going at least until Hump Day is over.

Featuring illustrations by popular fashion designer Hajime Yoshio, Kinoko Girly is one of the simplest smartphone games you’ll ever play. Asking you, the person in charge of feeding a bevy of frighteningly shaped mushrooms to a woman with a penchant for fungi, to choose which of the two ‘shrooms offered up at any one time is delicious and which is poisonous, it’s simply a case of guesswork for the sake of it, but it’s surprisingly addictive. And altogether weird.

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Starbucks Japan releases yet another drool-worthy Frappuccino flavor for summer

Starbucks Japan does it again with another seasonal item: the Crunchy Cookie Frappuccino. It’s like milk and cookies in a cup, but it’ll also keep you cool this summer. With a vanilla base, chocolate chunk cookie clusters, and even almonds, it sounds like it’ll be another tempting option on their menu…with an entire cookie crumbled up and blended in!

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Do actually useful prizes suck all the frustrating fun out of those UFO catcher crane games?

Japanese UFO catchers give the best prizes – if you’re talented or lucky enough to grab them. (Personally, I think it’s all about luck because after many hours and probably hundreds of yen down the drain, I’m still not any better at winning.) But the euphoria of a win is usually quickly forgotten, and you’re left with one more piece of tat to cram into your room. So what about if UFO catchers actually dished out useful goodies? Wouldn’t that be a real win-win situation?!

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